Today’s Gospel is about Jesus healing a deaf and dumb young man. Perhaps each of us knows that being deaf and mute is one of the defects that make people lose part of the ability to communicate, the ability to freely express themselves.  This means that he has been separated from society and isolated from the community, that is, to live a lonely life.

The Gospel did not mention that this young man is living a lonely, cold life because he still lives with everyone in society and makes sure he still participates in some community activities.   But somehow, we can still imagine a person living in human society without the ability to convey his thoughts to others who can understand him and like him. You cannot understand anyone when you cannot hear what they are saying, even if their words are relevant to you. It was this deafness that did not completely take away his solidarity with others, but because of the limitation of these two necessary senses, he gradually pushed him out of the community.

Physical deafness has caused many difficulties and sufferings for the people, but it seems that it is still not equal to deafness in the soul. This kind of deafness and dumbness have very serious consequences for people.  It paralyzes the solidarity between people and loses the beautiful relationships that we have with others.  This disease makes us no longer able to listen and understand our brothers and sisters, but we can only focus on ourselves. Only ourselves is everything.   The reality shows that in today’s developed society, it has unintentionally created a lot of people suffering from this “deaf” disease.  When people’s selfishness is too great, they are no longer eager to take action like sharing or caring for others, especially for those brothers and sisters living in poverty and suffering in society.  Their hearts are almost closed and there is no room left for others.

Therefore, in today’s Gospel, Jesus did not only heal the young man’s physical deafness but at the same time, He also healed him spiritually.  Not only did he put his finger in his ear and smear his tongue with saliva, but the Lord looked up to heaven, sighed, and said, “EPHPHATHA” which means “BE OPENED”.   Immediately after Jesus’ command was given, not only his ears and mouth were opened, but his heart was also opened so that he could be free to live in harmony with everyone, nevertheless, loved as all normal human beings.

Likewise, through Jesus’ invitation to “BE OPENed” in today’s Gospel passage, the Lord also wants us to open our hearts to others, to be welcomed, and to give Love. Love, and solidarity between people. Especially in the context of the on-going Covid pandemic.  May God grant each of us the grace to always open our hearts to receive, share and help those who are severely affected during this pandemic.   At the same time, we must always live to learn to be humble, to acknowledge our weakness, so that we can open our hearts to God’s mercy, asking Him to always heal and transform the weak, cold person in each of us.

Francisco Palau Community, Manila